Game Report: Ashcraft and Hall

MONROE, N.C. -- On a night when the UNC coaches roamed the sidelines at Monroe High School scouting Albert Ashcraft [pictured] and Marque Hall, both prospects seemed to suffer from the others' presence in sub-par performances Friday night.

Ashcraft, in particular, disappointed, though Monroe won the rivalry game over Forrest Hills, 26-3. Consistently ranked among the best prospects in the state, he displayed outstanding speed but the Forest Hills defense was often able to string out his carries and minimize his ability to get upfield. Hall and the talented front four of Forest Hills filling interior cut back lanes also hampered his efforts.

Ashcraft is quite thin (6-3 and to all appearances less than his listed 190), and with his upright style of rushing that was quite a liability as it allowed defensive players to hone in on his legs. To his credit, he doesn't shy away from contact; he takes on hits and showed an ability to get the tough two to three yards on the corner.

With his pure speed and tall frame, Ashcraft appears primed to be transitioned to safety at the next level. The idea doesn't sit too well with him, however, and staying in the backfield is the top priority in his recruitment.

"Whoever will let me stay in the backfield, that's where I'll go," Ashcraft said Friday, adding "I went to the opening game against Florida State at Carolina, and it was all right, I wasn't expecting them to lose like that though…but I liked it."

UNC and Clemson have both indicated they will give him a serious look at RB, and constitute his top two at this point. Wherever he ends up, don't be surprised at a Mahlon Carey-esque move to safety after a period at running back.

Hall, after a dominant performance last week against Mt. Pleasant, wasn't nearly the disruptive factor this week against the large and talented Monroe offensive line, led by Carolina and Clemson recruit Bryan Rogers. While the sweep-happy Monroe offense didn't give Hall much of a chance to rack up tackles, the entire OL did a great job keeping him out of the backfield on passing downs.

Despite having a down game, Hall did have two plays that caused the UNC staff to stand up straight and exchange wide-eyed glances. On the first, Hall bowled over the entire interior of Monroe's extra point team, dove completely horizontal and spiked the extra point attempt into the ground--with authority. On the second, blocking in front of a receiver running an end-around, Hall flipped the oncoming linebacker with a vicious block. The linebacker landed on his feet before falling to the ground.

Brewer, Lawing
Despite reports to the contrary, Marque did not attend the UNC-State game at Carter-Finley.

"No, I didn't go to that, I had the ACT. I think I passed, too." Hall said.

Are UNC and State still the co-leaders, and is there any differentiation between the two?

"Yes, they are sir. They're tied right now."

UNC head coach John Bunting, and assistant coaches Gunter Brewer and Brad Lawing paced the sidelines for the first three quarters. Bunting, in particular, was quite the celebrity at halftime; a crowd of Hall's classmates gathered around to be regaled by tales of the NFL and the qualities that Carolina has to offer. Lawing, in particular, seemed to study Hall down the line of scrimmage and from the endzones. All of the coaches made sure they were seen as Forest Hills and Monroe went to the locker room at the half.

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